A new innovative study showing that lab on a chip technology; may help finding the new treatments for Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is knowing as the accumulation of liver fat in people; who drink little or no alcohol is increasingly common around the world, and in the United States, it affects between 30 and 40% of adults.
But currently, there are no approved drugs for the treatment of NAFLD, which is predicting to soon become the main cause of chronic liver problems and the need for liver transplantation. But now the study team has developing a lab on a chip technology; that can simulate different levels of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) progression in cells across a single continuous tissue.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
But the research, which is describing in an article published in the journal Lab on a Chip; the scientists used their new platform to evaluate the effects of different drivers of NAFLD such as fat and oxygen concentrations on liver cells. In this way, the platform can allow for detailed studies of NAFLD progression. Other influences such as inflammatory cues; that can also be superimposing onto the platform to examine their impacts.
In addition, the lab on a chip platform can be using to assess investigational drugs effecting on NAFLD progression; therefore revealing their potential for further testing in clinical trials. This platform is unique in that in one continuous liver tissue on a single chip, we are able to look at different severities of the disease and to study how liver tissue might respond to both triggers of NAFLD as well as different therapeutic approaches.
Complex pathologies of NAFLD
While further studies into more complex pathologies of NAFLD; and its progressive forms are needed to establish a more complete recapitulation; the current platform establishing a basis for lab-based drug efficacy screening for NAFLD. But the study suggesting that such a strategy may help accelerate the search for effective drugs for NAFLD conditions; that range from benign fat accumulation to more serious complications including fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.
Then using this platform to create oxygen driving steatosis zonation mimicking the sinusoidal lipid distribution on a single continuous tissue; and showed that this fat zonation disappears under progressed steatosis; in agreement with observations and recent computational studies. While we focus on free fatty acids and oxygen as the drivers of NAFLD; the microfluidic platform here is extensible to simultaneous use of other drivers.